Parks Rest Sanitarium

115 DeWitt in 1942

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Known Name(s)

Parks Rest Sanitarium


115 DeWitt Ave. Asbury Park, NJ

Establishment Type(s)


Physical Status



115 DeWitt Avenue, now 113 DeWitt, is located in a residential area of Asbury Park’s West Side. A 1942 article in the Asbury Park Press reporting the sale of 115 DeWitt noted that the house, which was shown in an accompanying photo, was a three-story, 14-room, stucco “mansion” built around 1927 at the cost of $28,000. The house stands today, part of the West Side Community Center complex, which also includes a gymnasium building.

Source: “West Side Group Buys Parks’ Home for Center,” Asbury Park Press, 11 August 1942.

Detailed History

Parks Rest has the distinction of being Asbury Park’s sole sanitarium listed in The Green Book. It was listed for only two years, and appears to have been an extension of the medical practice of affluent physician William H. Parks, though this is conjecture. The 1930 census recorded that Dr. Parks, an African-American man born in Tennessee in about 1878, lived in the house with his wife, three children, and two “servants.” His obituary of 1953 stated that he went to Lincoln University in Missouri and medical school at Howard University.

In 1942, the large and impressive house – presumably built by Parks, as the city directory lists him as living and working at the address in 1928 – was purchased to be the home of the West Side Community Center. An article in the Asbury Park Press reporting the sale in 1942 stated that the community group that purchased the property, headed by West Side leaders, was the successor to the Urban League, and was “dedicated to the moral, spiritual, physical, social and mental welfare of the West Side community.” The Community Center was a great success, and became an essential part of the fabric of West Side life in succeeding decades. Currently unused and in deteriorating condition, The Westside Community Center Renovation Association is heading a movement to rehabilitate the complex.

Sources: Dianna Harris, President, MURC, Neptune, NJ; US census, 1930; Polk’s Asbury Park City Directory, 1928 and 1940; Charles Daye, “Can this group save ‘a completely trusted space’ in Asbury Park that fell into disrepair?” Asbury Park Press, 19 January 2023; “Dr. William Parks, Long a Resident,” Asbury Park Press, 1 December 1953; “West Side Group Buys Parks’ Home for Center,” Asbury Park Press, 11 August 1942.


J. Shaffer

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